Easy Schmeasy...Cooking for the Clinically Insane

Since my initial cooking attempt of Tex Mex went off without a hitch I decided I would spend my first day of R&R cooking dinner for a few friends.  Fortunately it was not at my house as I do not have a oven or even a very functional stove.  (I did just procure a slightly used microwave though...oh the possibilities!)

Disclaimer: I am typing this as I cook.  Therefore there will be frequent updates and perhaps a random fire or two.

The menu: pulled chicken wraps with broccoli pasta alfredo and chocolate chip cookies for dessert.  I decided to also throw in a guacamole starter since that takes me approximately 10 minutes to make including chopping and taste testing plus I figured it would keep the boys occupied as I attempt to finish the rest of dinner. 

Around 2pm: I returned from grocery shopping and started chopping and cleaning vegetables.  I threw 4 small avocados, some chopped onion and red pepper, and a jalapeno in the blender until mixed.  I added lemon juice and a little salt to taste.  There was an unfortunate incident where I put the spoon in to test the consistency a few seconds before the blender actually came to a complete stop.  Happily it  didn't break or kill the blender or take out my eye for that matter when it came flying out of the blender at me. 

Since I am incapable of chopping broccoli I asked the housegirl to chop that for me so I didn't come off as a complete imbecile when there were huge chunks of uncut broccoli in the pasta later.  She did an amazing job and puts my chopping skills to shame.

Around 4pm:  I took the chicken that was quasi defrosted (hopefully it's ok to continue on it's defrostation while in the oven?)  and sprinkled Hidden Valley ranch seasoning on it and drizzled some barbecue sauce on it.  I set the oven on as high as it can go because I know it takes longer to cook and you have to put things on higher temperatures since we're at a higher altitude.  Unfortunately, I don't actually know what that equates to in cooking terms but hopefully 300 degrees Celsius is adequate to get the job done. 

Live blogging commences.  Continue on here:

4:17pm: I just heard popping noises from the oven.  Maybe I should go investigate.

4:30pm: Oh shit.  The handle on the top of the pot is completely melted into a little circle on top of the lid.  Ooops.  The chicken looks alright though.

4:43pm: Crisis averted and wine is definitely in order.   Just removed the screw that fell from the lid and pulled the chicken apart.

4:55pm: Was just informed that chicken only needs to be cooked at 160 degrees Fahrenheit so 300 degrees Celsius may be overdoing it.  Just threw some more bbq sauce on to prevent the chicken from drying out, turned down the temp, found a solid metal lid this time, and popped it back in the oven to continue cooking.

4:58pm: Where is the wine?!?!  Now to figure out how to cook the broccoli part of the pasta.  I'm guessing just throw it in a pot and boil it for a few minutes.  Maybe that should wait til I start on the pasta.  That part shouldn't take too long.

5:00pm: Chocolate chip cookie recipe time.

5:06pm: Have a glass of Blue Nun cabsav in my hand.  And I didn't break the cork or the corkscrew in the opening process.  Go me.  Read through chocolate chip recipe online.  Doesn't seem that difficult.  Thank you, allrecipes.com for including the Celsius cooking degrees for those of us challenged with conversion rates.   350F=175C.  Good to know.

5:11pm: Computer dying.  Raining outside.  Please electricity, don't go out.  Recipes all online.  Could lead to disaster.

5:14pm: Very concerned about dry chicken.  Dumped the majority of the remaining bbq sauce on the chicken and turned down the temp again.

5:15pm: One dining companion canceled due to a last minute international meeting time change.  As he called prior to the first post I'm choosing to believe it had nothing to do with my cooking skills (or lack thereof for that matter) and more to do with dumb people not understanding time zones.  Any brave readers want to join my dining adventure?

5:31pm: Success!  Recruited two more unsuspecting dining companions to join in the experiment.

5:32pm: Ummmm, how many grams are in a cup?  Awesome, I just realized the website has an option to let you change from American to metric.  Best idea ever!  AND they have a What to Drink sidebar.  Thanks for validating my decision to booze it up while cooking, allrecipes.com!

5:40pm: Great.  Just realized that there are no measuring cups in here.  After the last cooking attempt there were grill tongs procured, unfortunately I didn't try to bake on that occasion or maybe I would have measurement devices now.  Guess I'm going to have to eyeball it. 

5:46pm: Have recruited a chopper.  He doesn't know it yet but he will be in charge of the remainder of the chopping responsibilities for the evening.  I have a scar to prove the fact that I indeed suck at chopping things.  Is that enough to guilt trip someone into assisting?

5:52pm: It worked!  I proved my incompetence with a sad puppy face and a scar story.

5:55pm: So I'm not sure that white granulated sugar actually exists in Kenya so I have 2 kinds of brown sugar for the cookies.  I wonder how this will affect the taste.

5:59pm: Have resorted to calling home to the States for a chat with ma chère mère.  "Cookies matter, you have to have the proportions right.  Don't just guess at a random cup."  Helpful, mom, real helpful.  We decided that I should shove the butter into a container to determine a device that should be used to measure the sugars and determine the measurement from there.

6:09pm: Curry Delight completes his chopping duties.

6:14pm: "Nooo, you can't use the hand blender.  This is for wet things."  Well fine then, don't make my life easier.  Now you can mix the butter and sugars together for me, thankyouverymuch.

6:20pm: Vanilla extract and essence of vanilla.  Same enough, right?  Bicarbonate soda = baking soda?  Ok, sure, probably.  Wish I'd listened closer in 10th grade home ec class.  

6:30pm: Curry Delight is showing signs of stress.

So there are no chocolate chips in Kenya.  Therefore I made an executive decision the other day to buy white chocolate and dark cooking chocolate.  SOMEONE misplaced the dark chocolate therefore we are now grating the white into flakes for the dough.

6:32pm: Hurrah, he has walnuts.

6:40pm: Cookie dough tastes ok, they should turn out.  Maybe.  (If you're reading this Mom, no, of course I did not taste the cookie dough.  No, I will not risk my life for salmonella and taste uncooked cookie dough.  You raised me better than that.) 

6:44pm: The ultimate question in life....if the pasta bag breaks and the contents spill on the floor but no one sees, it doesn't count right?  Shhh, don't tell the guests.

6:50pm: "This is how you chop quickly.  Trust me, I know how much pressure I am putting so my fingers won't get chopped."  Touche, sir, touche.  That'll teach me to bat my eyes and ask for assistance over a prior injury due to sheer stupidity.

6:55pm: STOP READING WHILE I'M WRITING, CURRY DELIGHT!  Yes, your infinite genius finally fixed the interwebs.

7:09pm: Pasta is boiling.  Extra virgin olive oil is added. 

7:11pm: Annnd, I just realized that I'm using a Johnnie Walker glass for my cup measurements.  Classy, real classy.  And I'm halfway through the bottle of wine.  Don't judge me.

7:18pm: Broccoli and red and yellow peppers are on the stove.  I'm not really sure how you cook such things but I'm guessing if I throw them in some water and set it to boil, it'll be fine.  (Fingers crossed.)

7:19pm: DING.  Cookies are done!  And more proof that I really AM Captain Awesome! And I just taught Mr. Master Chef himself something about checking how done cookies are. (FYI It involved a knife tip and a determination of its cleanliness.  If it looks doughy when it's extracted it's still not done.)

7:45pm: Shit.  Lost track of time and didn't hear the oven ding.  Walked back out and rescued the cookies before they burned.

7:50pm: Pasta and veggies drained.  Couldn't find alfredo sauce at the store (despite the HUGE section of tomato pasta sauces.  Ragu is taking over the world!) so I resorted to "chicken tonight" creamy peppercorn with red, green, and black peppers.  Boiling now.

8:00pm: Poured boiling alfredo-esque sauce on on the pasta without burning/maiming anyone.  Tasted and pronounced "good."  Also CD keeps stealing cookies.  Can't be a bad sign, can it?

8:01pm: So there is enough cookie dough left for maybe 2 or 3 more cookies.  Decisions, decisions.  Do I make the last of the cookies or do I eat the yummy yummy dough get rid of the very little bit left?

8:10pm: So I just realized I cannot judge the amount of food I should make; ever.  I have a GIANT pot of pasta and a TON of chicken.

8:15pm: People arrive.  Four people show up in lieu of one.  Good thing I cook a lot.  And yes, they're here while I'm updating.  

8:21pm: Convince CD to put out banana crisps with the guacamole so I could make sure the rest of dinner is ready.

8:27pm: I believe dinner and cookies are done.  Must heat up tortillas once we progress to dining point.  Chatting and drinking have ensued.  Enough time to sneak away for a shower?  Dilemmas, dilemmas.

8:31pm: Ok, so 4 replace 2.  Roommate bails on dinner as well.  She knows my track record with cooking and cannot be blamed.  CD is silently judging me as I check the food and update the blog.  Priorities, CD, priorities.  (He claims he wasn't being judgey.  Really, CD?  Calling me out in front of the guests and telling me to come be social isn't judgey?  Who's to say I don't have a reader checking back every few minutes to find out my next faux pas?)

8:36pm:  CD presents the guacamole.  Finally.  And mispronounces it.  I'm pretty sure they're all confused by this concoction.

8:49pm: CD lets the final cookies burn.  He claims it dinged and he collected them.  I don't believe him.  I'm pretty sure he missed the ding and let them sit and burn.

9:10pm: Double judgement.  SOMEONE has an article due and refuses to come to dinner.  I believe this was poor planning and could have been avoided if this person had come and hung out with me earlier in the day and therefore would have been able to join for dinner now.  Not naming names.  But she was a debutante earlier in life and currently lives with me.

9:34pm: Tortillas are being heated up.  We might migrate upstairs to the balcony to eat eventually.  One can only hope.

10:13pm: The pasta was overcooked but seeing as no one here really eats pasta I don't think they noticed.  The chicken was good and the cookies were a hit.  I declare, despite the cooking drama involved in preparation, it was all in all a success.

11:31pm: Dinner finished and guests have departed.  "It was excellent.  The cookies were crunchy and nice and the food was awesome."  Clearly someone has been hanging out with me way too often.  Awesome, CD?  I don't believe you came up with that term on your own.  BTW, crunchy cookies are not a good thing for future reference.


  1. Oh Micah! This is the saddest/funniest thing I've read in quite some time. I'm assuming you're eating and have guests, so I'm not going to call right now. Love you.
    Also yet, bicarb is baking soda :)